There is a clear disconnect between managers and workers when it comes to the perception of praise at work. In a recent OfficeTeam survey, 30 percent of workers polled said they don’t think their companies are good at showing staff appreciation; meanwhile, 89 percent of senior managers interviewed said they do a good job of providing employee recognition.
That means you may have to take the matter into your own hands. It’s a career imperative to ensure your accomplishments and contributions win the attention and recognition they deserve. So how can you get the credit you’re entitled to without ruffling your boss’s feathers and coming across as an attention-seeking whiner? The following suggestions could help you feel more valued and even boost your company’s employee recognition efforts.
1 Highlight your merits
Make a list of all the things you do at work that deserve acknowledgement. For this exercise, try to see yourself from the perspective of your supervisor and colleagues. What would they say are your strong points? In your absence, what would not get done? What unique knowledge or skills do you bring to your job? If your list is very short, then you may want a friend to coach you, to help elicit some of your strengths, before asking for employee recognition.
2 Don’t give up or go negative
Don’t let apathy get the best of you. If you feel overlooked, don’t let bitterness or contempt seep into your work. A negative attitude at work will earn you plenty of attention — for all the wrong reasons. If you feel your boss has overlooked an accomplishment, don’t vent behind his or her back to other staff. Gossiping and grumbling are detrimental to the workplace. Take a positive approach and seize the opportunity to improve communication with your manager, as well as your understanding of each other.
3 Speak up
There’s nothing wrong with blowing your own horn if you do so appropriately. No one wins recognition by toiling away in quiet obscurity in his or her cubicle. Mention notable achievements, preferably soon after they occur. Don’t wait until your annual performance review to list them. Try mentioning them at the conclusion of your regular meetings with your manager. On the other hand, don’t oversell your achievements. When you do speak up, keep it real and fact-based, giving credit to any colleagues who helped you achieve your goals. Otherwise, you risk tarnishing your reputation and earning notoriety as a braggart rather than as a team player.
4 Take the initiative
If your company has an official employee recognition program, be a regular participant by nominating peers who deserve kudos. However, if the program has fallen by the wayside or is nonexistent, offer to organize a committee to institute such an effort at your office. This will not only bring you the thanks you seek but also allow others to experience the same. Focus on employee recognition suggestions that don’t cost a lot of money. It could be as simple as recommending mentioning a few workers’ accomplishments in the company newsletter each issue or having the department head send them thank-you emails.
5 Say thank you
Accept praise graciously. When you brush off, downplay or deny a compliment, you are insinuating that the other person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. Don’t negate your self-worth. The best response to praise for your work is to simply smile and say “thank you”.
Employee recognition is a crucial aspect of a positive work environment. Not only do you and your coworkers deserve appreciation, but you also should work hard to make sure it’s an integral part of the workplace.